Saturday, October 31, 2009

Collecting Analogies!

“If you aren’t planning on going hiking for awhile, do you stop trimming your toenails?”

Say, I had this idea. I want to collect some great analogies regarding horses and hoof care. I was hoping you all could help me come up with some good ones that I could post here.

Here’s one that popped into my head last night. I was trimming a customer’s horse at a boarding facility and I noticed another boarder’s horse’s hooves were getting a bit long in the toes and could have really used a trim. 

The owner of the long-toed horse said her horse was just trimmed a month ago so it will be another month and a half before he’s due.  AHHHHHHH! 

I guess the incredulous expression on my face caused the next reassuring comment. “It's okay, he’s not being ridden.”

Seriously, I get that a lot.

The response I thought of much too late was:

“If you aren’t planning on going hiking for awhile, do you stop trimming your toenails?”

Last week, one of my students and I were discussing the fact the veterinarians get very few hours of education on hoofcare in college. When presented with horses that are suffering from hoof ailments, vets will generally refer those horses to horseowner’s farrier. They don’t often realize that some horseowner’s use farriers who haven't had any actual training or education in rehabbing hooves.

Many shoers out there have learned to tack on shoes from an older friend or relative who taught himself how to shoe (by trail and error years before) and hoof anatomy or ailments never becomes a part of their education or experience.

Hooves are pretty simple right.  Just rasp and nail on a shoe.  If the horse doesn't limp, you did good!

After I explained this all too common situation (which can cause years, sometimes, of unnecessary pain and suffering for the horse) he said:

“That’s kind of like an MD sending a patient with foot problems to the Nordstrom’s shoe dept.   He’ll be fitted with a nice pair of shoes, but he won’t get help for his foot condition.

So true! And you never know. A well fitted pair of shoes might make him feel better for awhile, but is the problem solved? Likely not! That's what podiatrists are for.

I was yakking with oue of our better local farriers one day and he explained that he'd been shoeing for 20 years.  The first 5 or so years, he was just shoeing using the skills his father taught him about shoeing.  Then he decided to go to school and get certified.  He said, that's when he found out how much he didn't know.   Cool that he was honest and great that he realized he could better serve the horses, but getting some education behind his work.

So anyway, just for fun, if you have any such hoof care or horse care analogies floating around in your brain, please share them with me either in the comments section or email me directly at


Pat Wagner,
Hoof Elitist


Mikey said...

I just have to say, those are the ugliest toenails ever. Do they belong to a farrier? lol, jk, sorta...

Good analogies! Many good points!

Pat said...

I know! They were almost too gross to post, but I figured they would sure get a readers attention.

Thanks! Mikey!


Michelle said...

I have had the opportunity to meet Dr Robert Bowker a couple of times over the past month. He gave this analogy... "Turn a paper cup upside down. Press your thumb on the bottom of the cup. (coffin bone) Now tack a shoe around the edge of the cup. What have you done to help that coffin bone?" Tuns a light bulb on for a lot of people!